Subject: [LEAK-GATE] - CIA leak may not be found: Bush

Date: Tue Oct 7, 2003  12:27 pm

This White House Scandal Finally Tips the Scale!

[LEAK-GATE] - CIA leak may not be found: Bush
Novak Leak Column Has Familiar Sound
Tue Oct 7 16:18:22 2003

Novak Leak Column Has Familiar Sound

By Dana Milbank
Tuesday, October 7, 2003; Page A23

Let's review: Syndicated columnist Robert D. Novak gets a leak of classified information from foreign-policy hardliners. The column he writes causes a huge embarrassment for the Republican White House and moderates throughout the administration. Capitol Hill erupts with protests about the leak.

Sound familiar? Actually, this occurred in December 1975. Novak, with his late partner Rowland Evans, got the classified leak -- that President Gerald R. Ford and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger were ready to make concessions to the Soviet Union to save the SALT II treaty. Donald H. Rumsfeld, then, as now, the secretary of defense, intervened to block Kissinger.

The main leak suspect: Richard Perle, then an influential aide to Sen. Henry "Scoop" Jackson (D-Wash.) and now a member of the Pentagon's Defense Policy Board and a confidant of neoconservatives in the Bush administration. The account was described in a 1977 article in The Washington Post, noting Perle's "special access" to Evans and Novak.

Evans and Novak, the National Journal wrote in 1979, were among the three "chief recipients" of classified leaks from Perle. "Several sources in Congress and the executive branch who regard Perle as an opponent said that he and his allies make masterful use of the Evans and Novak column," The Post reported 26 years ago. "One congressional aide who tries to counter Perle's and Jackson's influence on arms issues said the Evans and Novak 'connection' helps Perle create a 'murky, threatening atmosphere' in his dealings with others."

There is no indication that Perle, though a prominent administration adviser, has any connection to the current leak, that of the identity of a CIA agent. In fact, he does not fit Novak's description of the recent leakers as "senior administration officials." Perle, through his assistant, said that he never spoke to Novak about the matter involving former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, and that he had been unaware of the identity of Wilson's wife, the exposed CIA agent.

Still, the history of Novak's columns, many of them with juicy bits of presumably classified information, provides clues about his sources. Novak has often relied on foreign policy hardliners -- neoconservatives, in the current parlance -- for leaks that prove damaging to moderates. Novak himself is sometimes at odds with the neocons, particularly in his criticism of Israel, but has formed a longtime alliance.

A new liberal think tank, the Center for American Progress, dug up some past Novak moments that eerily echo the current moment. In 1981, the BBC reported that Evans and Novak published information from "a CIA top-secret report" about Soviet superiority in strategic rockets. In 1986, the Los Angeles Times reported complaints about "arms control opponents within the [Reagan] administration who have leaked information" to Evans and Novak about U.S. difficulties monitoring Soviet compliance with arms control agreements.

The paper quoted then-Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dave Durenberger (R-Minn.) complaining about the "prostitution of national secrets" and "the frequency with which columns by these two writers are peppered with sensitive national security information."

In the current administration, Novak has taken particular interest in the Defense Policy Board, the Pentagon advisory board stocked with "neocons" and once chaired by Perle. In addition to the board itself, Perle is a regular fixture in Novak columns, sometimes quoted by name. Others on the 31-member unpaid board -- including R. James Woolsey, Newt Gingrich, Kenneth Adelman -- also appear in Novak columns.

Many on the board, in turn, have close ties to senior administration officials affiliated with the neocons and making appearances in Novak columns: Rumsfeld; his deputy, Paul D. Wolfowitz; Defense Undersecretary Douglas J. Feith; Undersecretary of State John R. Bolton; State Department adviser David Wurmser; and National Security Council officials Stephen J. Hadley, Robert Joseph and Elliott Abrams.

Of course, the neocons inside and outside the administration, while likely suspects, may have had nothing to do with the Wilson leak to Novak and other journalists who chose not to use it. Will the columnist reveal his sources? Here, too, there is a precedent in Novak's writings.

In July 2001, Novak revealed that newly accused spy Robert P. Hanssen was his primary source for a column a few years earlier about an FBI agent who resigned after refusing a demand from Attorney General Janet Reno for names of secret sources in China. He wrote: "Disclosing confidential sources is unthinkable for a reporter seeking to probe behind the scenes in official Washington, but the circumstances here are obviously extraordinary."
No Credit Where Credit Is Due

Polls have shown public opinion toward President Bush souring over his handling of the economy and Iraq. But an item tucked away in last week's CBS News/New York Times poll adds insult to injury. Despite three tax cuts in as many years, only 19 percent said Bush's policies made their taxes go down. Forty-seven percent noticed no effect, while 29 percent perceived that their taxes have gone up.

"Rush is a great American. I am confident he can overcome any obstacles he faces right now."

-- President Bush, taking time to discuss embattled radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh with senior staff on Thursday, as relayed to the Drudge Report by a "senior administration source."

2003 The Washington Post Company

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CIA leak may not be found: Bush,4057,7497774%255E1702,00.html

CIA leak may not be found: Bush
From correspondents in Washington
October 8, 2003

US President George W Bush today cast doubt on the prospects of finding a senior administration official behind a leak that illegally identified a Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) agent.

The leak has become the first major scandal to hit the White House, but Bush told reporters: "I don't know whether we are going to find out the senior administration official."

"This is a large administration, and there are a lot of senior administration officials, and I don't have any idea," he said after a cabinet meeting at the White House.

But he said: "I want to know the truth. That's why I've instructed this staff of mine to cooperate fully with the investigators."

The White House has given staff until 7am today AEST to hand over documents related to the leaking of the name of Valerie Plame, the wife of Joseph Wilson, a former ambassador who had accused the Bush administration of exaggerating the case for war against Iraq.

The Justice Department has begun a criminal investigation into accusations that one or several White House officials gave Plame's name to the media, which quoted senior administration officials. It is illegal to name CIA agents.

Amid allegations that the leak was an act of revenge against Wilson, the Democrats have called for an independent investigation into the affair.

Wilson spoke out after he was sent to Niger to investigate claims - made by Bush in a major speech in January - that Iraq had tried to buy uranium for nuclear weapons from the African state. The former diplomat said he had told the administration last year that the claims were almost certainly false.

For the first time since the scandal broke 10 days ago, Bush spokesman Scott McClellan named three top White House officials who had assured him personally that they had not been the source of the leak.

They were: Karl Rove, Bush's top political adviser; Lewis Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff; and Elliott Abrams, special assistant to the president and senior director for Near East and North African Affairs.

The three had been named by US media in recent days as possible sources of the leak.

Agence France-Presse

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